The pancreas is an abdominal organ that is located behind the stomach and is surrounded by other organs, including the spleen, liver and small intestine. The pancreas is about 15 centimeters long, oblong and flat.
The pancreas plays an important role in digestion and in regulating blood sugar. Three diseases associated with the pancreas are pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer and diabetes.
The pancreas serves two primary functions: 1) It makes enzymes to digest proteins, fats, and carbs in the intestines, and 2) produces the hormones insulin and glucagon.
A well-known effect of insulin is to decrease the concentration of glucose in blood. This lowers blood sugar levels and allows the body's cells to use glucose for energy.
Insulin is released after eating protein and especially after eating carbohydrates, which increase glucose levels in the blood. If the pancreas does not produce sufficient insulin, type 1 diabetes will develop.
Unlike insulin, glucagon raises blood sugar levels. According to the Johns Hopkins University Sol Goldman Pancreatic Cancer Research Center, the combination of insulin and glucagon maintains the proper level of sugar in the blood.
Another pancreas function is to produce and release digestive fluids. After food enters the stomach, digestive enzymes called pancreatic juice travel through several small ducts to the main pancreatic duct and then to the bile duct, according to the Medical University of South Carolina’s Digestive Disease Center. The bile duct takes the juice to the gallbladder, where it mixes with bile to aid in digestion.
Using a Tiny Array of Electrodes implanted in the Brain's somatosensory cortex, scientists have induced Sensations of Touch and Movement in the Hand and Arm of a Paralyzed Man.
For the first time, scientists at California Institute of Technology have induced natural sensations in the arm of a paralyzed man by stimulating a certain region of the brain with a tiny array of electrodes.
The patient has a high-level spinal cord lesion and, besides not being able to move his limbs, also cannot feel them.
The work could one day allow paralyzed people using prosthetic limbs to feel physical feedback from sensors placed on these devices.
The somatosensory cortex is a strip of brain that governs bodily sensations, both proprioceptive sensations (sensations of movement or the body's position in space) and cutaneous sensations (those of pressure, vibration, touch, and the like).
fMRI is used to highlight select implant sites in the somatosensory cortex. Electrodes implanted in this region were able to stimulate neurons that produced physical sensations, like a squeeze or tap, in the arm of a paralyzed man.
It is the first time such natural sensations have been induced by intra-cortical neural stimulation.
The next major step, according to Andersen, is to integrate the technology with existing neural prosthetics. In 2015, Andersen's laboratory developed brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) to connect a prosthetic robotic arm to electrodes implanted in the region of the brain that governs intentions.
In this way, a paralyzed man was able to utilize the prosthetic arm to reach out, grasp a cup, and bring it to his mouth to take a drink. Connecting the device with the somatosensory cortex would create bidirectional BMIs that would enable a paralyzed person to feel again, while using prosthetic limbs.
Michelle Armenta Salas, Luke Bashford, Spencer Kellis, Matiar Jafari, HyeongChan Jo, Daniel Kramer, Kathleen Shanfield, Kelsie Pejsa, Brian Lee, Charles Y Liu, Richard A Andersen. Proprioceptive and cutaneous sensations in humans elicited by intracortical microstimulation. eLife, 2018; 7 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.32904 www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180410084233.htm... See moreSee less